– The Rebels played hard and played with intensity for four quarters on offense.
The offensive line was competitive with new starters at the guards. Freshman RB Jeff Scott gave an early spark to the run game by getting to the corner and helping open things up inside.
The defense was disruptive in the Fresno State backfield. Special teams contributed with a 51-yard punt return TD by Jesse Grandy.
– Pass defense was weak. The Rebels had trouble covering Fresno receivers, and while they sacked quarterback Ryan Colburn five times, they didn’t hit him enough to throw him off his game.
Jeremiah Masoli threw his fifth interception of the year, and Ole Miss was fortunate to lose only one of three fumbles.
On the flip side, the Rebels remain the only SEC secondary without a pick this year.
Keys to victory review
– Evaluating the keys to victory in Saturday’s GameDay edition:
1. Protect the ball, create turnovers: The one fumble the Rebels did force killed a Fresno drive as it was approaching the red zone.
2. Stick to your man: The Rebels had trouble covering Fresno receivers, two of whom surpassed 100 yards on the night.
3. Score for four quarters: Good effort, wire to wire. The Rebels even scored when they were just trying to run out the clock, as Brandon Bolden ran in from 14 yards out with 35 seconds left.
– Brandon Bolden: The junior tailback had a career-best 228 yards on 19 carries with TD runs of 71 and 14 yards. Bolden hit holes when they were there, bounced outside when they weren’t.
– A win was a must if the Rebels were to entertain any hopes of getting the season back on track, but now they can approach this week’s return to SEC play with a bit of confidence. The offensive line was better but must continue to improve, and the Rebels are going to have to find a way to slow down good passing game.
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal